What Should We Know About Kalanchoe Luciae?

kalanchoe luciae

Kalanchoe luciae is also called Paddle Plant or Flapjack Succulent, thanks to the claim-like structure of the leaves. This houseplant does not require much maintenance, and under the right weather conditions, you can plant it outdoors. The Flapjack plant is drought-tolerant, so you can grow it in hot and dry regions.

Perhaps, the most impressive feature of the Kalanchoe luciae plant is the yellow-shaded flowers and the plump, thick leaves it produces during the spring.

In this post, we will cover the origin, growing and propagation tips for the Kalanchoe luciae succulents.

kalanchoe luciae
By Frank Vincentz – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia

Introduction To Kalanchoe Luciae

Kalanchoe luciae belongs to the Crassulaceae family. While it is native to South Africa, it is predominant in Cyprus, Malaysia, and Madagascar.

The origin of the name “Kalanchoe Luciae” is a bit unclear, as some people believe it was coined from the Chinese words “Kalan Chauhuy”, which loosely means “something that falls and grows”. The rationale behind this is that the shedding of leaves is common to many succulents, including the Kalanchoe luciae.

Another suggestion is that the name “Kalanchoe Luciae” originates from the ancient Indian words “Kalanka” and “Chaya”, which means “spot” and “glossy,” respectively. When you consider the appearance of the Flapjack succulent, this suggestion makes sense.

Some succulent growers believe that “Luciae” was named after Mademoiselle Lucy Dufour, a French botanist who was the first to write about this succulent as far back as 1908.

But, perhaps, the most reasonable explanation for this word “Luciae” is that it refers to Saint Lucia Park, a location in South Africa where Kalanchoe Luciae is most prevalent.

The plant forms a rosette cluster of round, plump leaves with red edges. This is why Kalanchoe luciae is sometimes called Red Pancake.

The succulent can grow as high as 1.3m, with their leaves facing upward and standing erect without petioles. The sweetly scented flowers start developing from February to June and will remain until the entire plant dies.

flapjack plant
By Mokkie – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia

Kalanchoe Luciae Care

Kalanchoe luciae succulents require soil with good drainage to grow. If you cannot provide partial shade for the plant, exposing it to direct sunlight will not be disastrous. But ensure the temperature of the environment does not go below 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

You can grow the Flapjack plant indoors or outdoors. Also, you can pair this plant with Aloes, Echeverias, and other succulents that form rosettes.

For your paddle plant to thrive, it needs a minimum of six hours of sunlight daily. If the succulent gets the needed amount of sunlight, its leaves will have a rich red appearance. But then, you need to shade the plant during the hottest period of the day. As mentioned above, partial shade is sufficient for the paddle plant to grow.

Providing full shade might cause the succulent to stretch out in the direction of sunlight, and that will gradually lead to its death.

Adding fertilizers should only be done in the spring and summer. The Flapjack plant grows slowly, so adding fertilizers might speed things up. But, ensure you do not add too many fertilizers. Otherwise, the plant will grow out of proportion. Experienced succulent growers suggest that you use half of the quantity recommended by fertilizer producers. Also, ensure you use a fertilizer specially formulated for succulents.

You should bear in mind that Kalanchoe luciae is a monocarpic plant. This means that the parent succulent will dry up and die to signify the end of a flowering season. When this occurs, ensure you replant the small offsets in a new pot because there will be no more nutrients left in the old pot.

How To Water The Kalanchoe Luciae Plant

Kalanchoe luciae is a drought-tolerant plant, so it can survive for a long time without water. But ensure you water it from time to time. If you are very busy, travel often, or always forget to water your plants, the Flapjack succulent is the best option.

The best watering technique for the Flapjack plant is the “soak and dry” method which involves allowing the soil to dry out totally before resuming watering.

If this succulent sits in soil with poor drainage, the roots will rot after a short while.

During the winter, you should only water the plant when the leaves look dehydrated. This is because the plant is dormant during this period, and watering excessively will cause it to grow out of proportion.

You can add a small layer of gravel to the soil to control the temperature, drainage rate, and moisture intake. But ensure the gravels do not touch the stem of the succulent to prevent the transfer of heat.

How To Propagate Kalanchoe Luciae

Once the Kalanchoe luciae succulent starts producing flowers, it has come to the end of its growth cycle. But before the plant dies, you can replant the baby succulents in a new pot. In essence, replanting the offsets is the simplest way of propagating the Kalanchoe luciae succulent.

You can also propagate the Kalanchoe luciae plant from leaf cuttings. The best time for this propagation technique is during the spring and summer.

Use a disinfected knife to cut off a whole leaf, and keep it in a dry place for three or four days to dry. Once the cuttings are dry, you can put them on well-drained soil and give it a few weeks for roots to develop.

The third way of propagating the Kalanchoe luciae plant is by planting the seeds in the potting mix. But before you plant the seeds, treat them with a fungicide to prevent fungi attacks.

Whichever propagation method you choose, ensure the soil is moist at all times until your plant acclimatizes to its new home. If the soil is soggy, the possibility of root rot is pretty high. Once the new plants start developing, you can water them like a mature succulent.

Kalanchoe Luciae vs. Thyrsiflora

People often confuse these two succulents because they share some characteristics and belong to the same genus. The main challenge, though, is when some nurseries interchange the two. Both of them have bold, fleshy leaves that have the fresh appearance of pancakes. There are differences in coloration between the two, but these can also be confusing because luciae and thyrsiflora leaves develop different colors depending on their growing conditions.

Kalanchoe Luciae is more common, and it has more giant leaves than thyrsiflora. It also has rather pale leaves. Kalanchoe thyrsiflora has smaller leaves that, though broad and pancake-like, are also are a little cupped. Thyrsiflora’s leaves are either green or white, and they have a white waxy coating.

Kalanchoe luciae’s leaves usually develop a pink or reddish margin on the leave’s edges and are thus more colorful, unlike thyrsiflora which is rather plain. The colored margin on these leaves gets more pronounced as the plant gets exposed to more sunlight.

The other distinguishing feature between these related plants is their flowers—both plants flower towards the end of winter and at the beginning of spring. However, flowering for both of them is not automatic; they need to have been protected from the cold in winter and provided with sufficient light. Lucia’s flower’s color ranges from white to pale yellow, while thrysiflora flowers are bright yellow, with broadly undivided petals. Thrysiflora’s flowers are heavily scented, unlike luciae’s flowers, which don’t have a noticeable smell.

Kalanchoe Luciae – Perfect for Your Garden

The scented flowers and beautiful leaves of the Kalanchoe luciae plant make it a perfect choice for indoor and outdoor gardens. The only thing you need to grow this plant is water and sunlight. While the Flapjack succulent is toxic to pets and kids, snails and slugs feed on it. So, you might want to keep an eye on the plant, especially if you are growing it outdoors.

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Posted in Succulents